By Ashley Dunkak
DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – Suspended Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta could still work out with the team to stay in playing shape and maintain chemistry and rhythm with teammates in preparation for a possible return at the very end of the regular season.
Peralta could, but for now, he will not.
“He will not be working out with us at this point,” general manager Dave Dombrowski said. “Right now he’s not going to be able to play for 50 games. We wouldn’t have somebody around us at this point, anybody, in that circumstance.”
Fifty-three games remain in the regular season, so Peralta will be eligible for the final three games, when the Tigers will be on the road against the Miami Marlins.
Peralta was hitting .305 with 11 home runs and 54 RBIs at the time of his suspension. His replacement, Jose Iglesias from the Boston Red Sox, is 23 years old. Praised mostly for his defense, Iglesias is currently hitting .330, a rate that is not expected to be the norm for him.
“It’s a little bit different type of look,” Dombrowski said. “You’ve got somebody that’s got a little more range, a little more from a defensive perspective, he runs better, he’s not going to hit the ball out of the ballpark like Jhonny and I guess there’s all different ways you try to win. We’re going to try to win in a different fashion. There’s no question you’re not going to have the same offense out of the shortstop position, but maybe you make up for it in other ways.”
With the postseason less than two months away, the Tigers could return to Peralta or stick with Iglesias. Dombrowski said the discussion is moot for now.
“That’s not something we’re going to tackle at this point,” Dombrowski said. “We don’t have to make that decision. That’s way down the road … We’ll worry about that question later on.”
Perhaps as big a question on whether the Tigers would bring Peralta back is whether his teammates would want him back. After all, Peralta effectively jeopardized the team’s season with his steroid use, which according to his statement occurred in the spring of 2012.
“To be honest with you, that’s something I haven’t even thought about yet,” Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander said. “He’s my teammate and I love him, but there’s a lot of things that go into that, and I haven’t had time to think about that yet.”
Detroit right fielder Torii Hunter was similarly noncommittal.
“We don’t know,” Hunter said. “We don’t know what’s going on, we don’t know how that works at all, so we don’t know what’s going on. We’re just going to focus on what we have to do, and that’s play Cleveland tonight.”